The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2020

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MAY 2020 Issue
Poetry

True Account of Talking to the 7 in Sunnyside


   - Right to Liquor Sign
   past Super Laundromat & European
         Mediterranean
               Foods
   which is closed. FOR RENT. Inquiries
   five one six two four eight oh
      eight
        oh
   there is Golden Wok, then
      Top
         Quality
            Cleaners


 - What are you doing?


    - Oh. This.
   Bodega. Closed.


 - Awww.


    - It’s now
   STORE FOR RENT
   Inquiries Call


 - We can’t go to it again?


    - No more


 - Awww!


     - Used to be Korean
   -owned & now it’s just
         European
            Meat
          Market
   on the corner of
        forty second


 - Why it’s getting closed?


    - Because
   it’s getting
   closed. Because richer people
   have been moving here
   & raising
        rent


 - What does that mean?


    - It’s called gentrification


 - Awww….


    - They make it hard
   for us to continue to live
   in this neighborhood


 - Well what is gentremecation?


    - When people who make
   a greater amount of
        money
      move into your
   neighborhood &
       raise
         rent
   they threaten to push out
   families who look just like
              us


 - That’s so sad!
Who will eat our food?
It’s so tasty!




        2


    - Keep walking west
   till you hit forty first street
      & see
            PS 150
   which, thankfully, we’ll avoid
            this fall


 - Why we will avoid it?


    - Because the principal is terrible
   & when principals are
            horrible
      Teachers leave
   & we are always going to support
            Teachers


 - Why Baba?


    - Because Teachers are the ones
   who keep our cities
            intact


 - What is intact?

    - Holding fast.
   Teachers keep kids out of trouble,
   they guide you to be a better person
   actually yr first teachers are always
.   going to be Mama & Baba
   the others
         Buddha
   Ah Mah Ah Gung Coco & Coca


 - I love Coca! Baba
we didn’t go to temple for a long
long time!


    - I know. We will
   next weekend. After
   we attend Tita Emmy’s
   panel at PS1 MoMA,
              ok?
   Little steps big steps tiny steps
              steps


 - Why oh why the um principal
is terrible?


    - Ah because the principal
   doesn’t care about
        her teachers
   she wants always to blame
        her teachers
   for every problem at
        her school
   precisely what most
           bad
              principals
                    do




        3


 - Baba how many how many days
is Earth going to be alive?


    - That is a good question
   How Many Days Is Earth Going to Be Alive
   I can tell you we’ve arrived on Queens Boulevard
   & the forty first street bus stop of the Q32 & 60


 - Baba Baba
the only thing under Earth
that would be alive
         volcanoes?


    - Ohh THIS place
   closed too?


 - And no firecracker
and no shooting


    - Used to be a spa
   meanwhile itong Baruir’s Coffee
     e nahati siya
   Virage’s Mart Convenience Store
   where yr Coca Marvie wd hoard
   phone cards to call Manila
   & Sunnyside Florist NY For All
   Designs & Occasions⎼⎼hangaang
   kelan lang kaya para sa kanila?
   Hetong Coffee Shop sa kanto
    once run by four brothers from Puebla
   now a bistro called SOLE LUNA


 - Also what, Baba?


    - Sole Luna, mahal ko.
   Nasa Lowery station na tayo
   para kunin yung 7




        4


 - Baba, Baba! Um the time
when we get home can you please
look up how many days is the Earth
gonna survive


    - Cge, mahal ko
   but only if you step
   away from here
     first
   then say
       Hello


 - Hello, 7 train!
HELLOOOOOOOOO….

Contributor

Paolo Javier

A featured artist in Queens International 18, Paolo Javier is the author of the chapbook and cassette EP Maybe the Sweet Honey Pours (Nion Editions/Temporary Tapes 2019), and O.B.B., a long comics poem forthcoming from Nightboat Books.

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MAY 2020

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